Mistletoe mood: how to know when you're ready to start dating again

During the "cuffing season" the urge to get back into dating feels more powerful than ever...

Sarah Tunstall
4th December 2023
image credit: pixabay @Hans
Is it worth jumping in for the sake of having someone for Christmas?

As someone who tried, no.

Dating people again after a breakup is one of those difficult things to muster the strength for. You had your everything in that other person and to start all over again feels hard to do so. Even when you feel ready, you're convinced you're over the person, sometimes finding someone else brings back all those feelings. How is this new person not like the person you were with? There is this constant mental comparison. An internal feeling of excitement for the new but fear as well.

It's almost as if finding someone becomes more of a mission to recuperate some old emotions as opposed to dating for a connection

It seems the winter, festive season brings all of these feelings stronger. Especially if you ever spent the season with someone else quite consistently before. In that case, it's almost as if finding someone becomes more of a mission to recuperate some old emotions as opposed to dating for a connection. I will admit I tried this. There was nothing heartbreaking in how it ended, it was meant to happen, but as soon as the festive season ended with this person I was dating I realised I wasn't as quite connected to them as I thought. All of the romantic festivities ended and feeling close to someone became all scary again. But by this point, their feelings were otherwise more genuine - making it harder to tell them "Sorry I'm just not ready right now".

I felt ready but always got scared when it came to dating again, even without committing

I hated hearing "wait" when I was in this part of my breakup. I felt ready but always got scared when it came to dating again, even without committing. But it's true. Just wait. Most, if not all, the most genuine connections you will make are offline, off the apps, and in person (I say this having met my current partner on Hinge... but I am lucky to say we connected just as well if not more in person). Even if it turns out like the rest, it's too much, there's no feeling there, etc. Talking or meeting people face to face before any apps will give you more confidence to see yourself as someone's partner as opposed to them as your new one.

You need that confidence back in yourself. You need to see yourself loved by other people, capable of loving others and yourself. As cheesy as it felt to write that sentence, it's unfortunately true. So resist all the urge to find someone to do all the festivities. Go back to your friends and start all from there. My go-to is romanticising those friendship holidays, like we're all true adults having our own moments away from our parents. You will remember those more than the ones you spent quickly with people you dated.

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